PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Mike Pelfrey made a change in his mechanics, and he’s hoping the results will follow.
Pelfrey allowed eight hits and five runs — the fourth consecutive spring start in which he’s given up at least four runs — and the New York Mets tied the St. Louis Cardinals 6-6 in 10 innings Saturday.
Pelfrey’s ERA in four Grapefruit League games is 11.49.
“I was actually pretty pleased with today,” Pelfrey said. “The ball obviously came out even better than it did last time. I threw a lot of strikes. I know I made a couple pitches that I left up and didn’t execute and they hit it.
“But I thought I was aggressive throwing strikes and I thought the ball came out of my hand pretty good,” Pelfrey said.
Earlier this week, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested that Pelfrey bring his hands up over his head during his windup. For the past three seasons, Pelfrey kept his hands at his belt during his entire windup.
Pelfrey said the change allowed him to stay on top of the ball and said numerous times that he felt “free and easy.”
Pelfrey retired the first six batters he faced, but the Cardinals sent nine batters to the plate in the third inning.
“I thought he was much, much better,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I thought his ball had great life to it. Obviously when it’s up, he doesn’t have the sink, but when it’s down .. He made a couple mistakes up in the strike zone, but otherwise he threw was great.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn made his first start since it was announced that Chris Carpenter would be out indefinitely due to a nerve issue that has caused discomfort and weakness in his pitching shoulder.
Lynn, who is expected to take Carpenter’s spot in the rotation, pitched 4 2-3 innings, allowed four runs on three hits and walked two. He also had one strikeout.
Lynn gave up two home runs, including a three-run shot by Mets first baseman Ike Davis in the first inning.
“A little cutter that didn’t cut,” Lynn said. “You tip your cap to him, he made a pretty good swing on it. As you look at the day, I gave up three hits and four runs; I’ve got to keep the ball down a little bit more. That’s something to look forward going into the next outing, to make sure I keep working on the pitches I’m doing and make sure I’m using the pitches I need to do.”
Lynn said he’s been approaching the entire spring as if he would be a starter. He appeared in 18 games for the Cardinals last season — 16 as a reliever.
“I was committed to it, but you were hoping for the best for Carp,” he said. “For us to be as good as we can be, we need Carp to be back as healthy as he can be and doing what he’s capable of. While he’s out I’m going to do the best I can to pick up the slack.”
Davis went 2 for 3 and walked once. Mets right fielder Lucas Duda also had two hits, including a long home run which bounced off the top of the blue tarp above the center field wall.
Cardinals center fielder John Jay and third baseman Daniel Descalso each had two-run hits off Pelfrey in the third inning. Jay finished 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored.
NOTES: Mets third baseman David Wright (torn rib cage muscle) took batting practice for the third straight day Saturday, but said it was “doubtful” that he would make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday when the Mets travel to Viera to play the Nationals. Collins said he hoped to have Wright back in the lineup by Tuesday. . Mets outfielder Scott Hairston (oblique) will take batting practice for the first time in more than three weeks Sunday. . Cardinals second baseman Tyler Green made a costly error in the first inning when he failed to make a catch on a likely double-play ball with one out. The misplay extended the inning for Davis, who hit the home run to left field.
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